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Green Thumb Tips

Echterís Plant Doctors are available during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.
Flower Gardens
"Dead-head" (pinch off the spent blooms) on perennials, annuals and roses for longer flowering periods
and more and larger blooms.
Watch for geranium budworm on geraniums and petunias. Besides the obvious destruction of the flowers, another telltale sign is tiny black droppings on leaves and the ground beneath the plants. The most effective treatment is to spray Eight insecticide every 10 days or treat organically with BT.
Stake your tall blooming flowers like gladioli, delphiniums, and cannas to keep the flowers showing and upright.
Drip irrigation really conserves water. Echter's has drip irrigation kits for vegetable gardens, containers, hanging baskets, and flower beds.
If you are going away on vacation this summer, water all your plants (indoors and out) thoroughly before you leave. A drip system with an automatic timer will assure you that your plants will be watered while
you are gone.

Container Gardens
Container gardens and hanging baskets can need a lot of fertilizer in a short time. The only practical way
to get enough fertilizer to them is with a water-soluble fertilizer like Jack's Classic Blossom Booster.
Top off your planters and container gardens with a half-inch of Mini Nuggets bark mulch to help keep in
the moisture.

Perennials & Roses
Prevent rose and perennial diseases like powdery mildew from taking hold by using a systemic fungicide before the problem appears. Once those diseases appear it is very difficult to control. Bee balm, phlox, columbines and lilacs are some of the plants prone to powdery mildew.

Control grass in perennial flower gardens with Over the Top. It is unique in that it kills grass without damaging most perennials.
Fertilize your roses regularly for continuous, large and beautiful blooms. We also have rose fertilizer with
a systemic insecticide for continuous insect control.
Pinch back asters and mums until mid July to encourage branching, compact growth and extra flowers.
Too much shade? Echterís has many shade-loving plants. For perennials try ferns, hosta, forget-me-nots, lamium, astilbe, violas, columbine, hellebores, bergenia, lily of the valley, and many more. 
Use Mini Nuggets mulch or red cedar mulch in your flower beds. They will retain moisture and retard
weeds from emerging.

Vegetable Gardens
Avoid overhead watering when tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, corn and other vegetables that need pollination are in flower as the pollen may be washed away, resulting in fewer fruits.

NettingRoss netting over your fruit trees and raspberries will help keep birds and squirrels out of your fruit crops. In addition, bird-repelling scare tape will be beneficial in protecting your fruit for a while.

Mulch your annual flowers and vegetable garden after the soil has warmed. Use Mini Nuggets bark mulch for the summer and then till it into the ground this fall to improve the soil structure.
All vegetables should be harvested early in the morning when it is cool, especially lettuce, spinach, herbs, peas, and beans.
Continue fertilizing with a high phosphorus (the second number) fertilizer. Corn is an exception; it prefers
a bit higher nitrogen (the first number) in the analysis.
Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems to get water directly to the plantsí roots. You can either lay
the hose on top of the mulch next to the plant or under the mulch. 
This is the most efficient way to water your gardens.
Harvest broccoli when the buds are still tight and before any flowers open.

Lawn Care
Those impossible weeds like bindweed, dandelions and thistle in your lawn can be controlled with
Ferti-lome's Weed Out or Weed Free Zone. These are the most effective weed killers you can buy.

If you fed your lawn in April, it's time to put on another application of fertilizer before the summer heat arrives. 
A slow release fertilizer is a must for this time of year.
The best part of the day to water our lawns is early morning while it is still cool and use a low-angle sprinkler that puts out large water drops for your lawn watering. This will reduce water loss due to evaporation. Use a sprinkler that fits the area to be watered to avoid run-off onto the sidewalk,
driveway or street.

Trees & Shrubs
Container-grown trees, shrubs, roses, and perennials can be planted anytime during the summer. Planting early in the morning or in the cool of the evening reduces the stress on both the plant and the planter.

Prune spring-flowering shrubs and ornamental trees after they have finished blooming. Prune only the spent flowers of lilacs. Lilacs set their flower buds for the next year very soon after flowering, so do not prune into the branches.
Placing weed barrier around trees and shrubs with about 3" of mulch on top will retain the moisture that
you put on your plants. Cut to the edge to slide fabric into place around the plants. Cut a large "X" into
the fabric where each plant is so you can fold back the fabric as the plant grows. Be sure to keep the
weed barrier and mulch about 4" away from the trunk of your trees and shrubs.
Donít be alarmed if you find tiny fruit on the grounds under your fruit trees. Fruit trees automatically drop poorly pollinated fruit. This is a natural occurrence. You can also help your crop by thinning the small fruit on the tree to six to eight inches apart. Leave the largest and healthiest fruit. This will make it easier on
the tree and improve the quality of the fruit. This will also ease the weight on the branches.
Apply Ferti-lome Tree and Shrub Systemic Insect Drench with a watering can. This will also protect your ash trees from the deadly emerald ash borer.

Water Gardening
Water hyacinths and water lettuce are nature's floating filters. They help oxygenate the water and keep algae growth down. Algae can also be controlled by a floating barley straw bale in the pond.
If you donít have room or donít want to dig a hole in your ground, you can still have a water garden. Use
a large non-draining ceramic pot to create a small water garden. Add a couple of water plants and you
are all set.

Change the water in your birdbaths weekly and clean your bird feeders to prevent diseases.
To control mosquitoes, drain all standing water, no matter how small the amount, including rain gutters, plastic sheeting, pipes, drains, trash cans, saucers under pots, etc. Change the water and clean your birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week to keep mosquitoes from laying eggs in stagnant water. Use Quick Kill Mosquitoes or Mosquito Plunks in your ponds and fountains to kill the mosquito larvae. These controls do not harm fish, birds or water plants.
Before you treat or spray lawns, houseplants, trees, shrubs or flowers, be sure your problem is identified correctly. Bring a sample of any plant problem in to Echterís plant doctors for a correct solution to the problem.

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